The Boston Celtics Buzzer-Beater removes Kyrie Irving and the Nets

BOSTON – Once upon a time, Celtics fans were excited about Kyrie Irving. They may remember the summer of 2017, when Irving left Cleveland and landed in Boston, where he rejoiced in the Celtics ’famous past and committed to doing what he could to help the team win.

But during Irving’s two seasons with the Celtics, all this community excitement turned into a bunch of different things: tolerance when he struggled with injuries, then criticizing teammates, impatience, and something resembling rage when it became clear that he and Boston were connected. . for a divorce.

On Sunday evening, Irving returned to Boston, where a passionate crowd from TD Garden christened the 1st game of the Celtics ’first-round playoff game with the Nets, bouncing on all of Irving’s chances. He was kicked out of the visitor tunnel for warming up. The presentations were made in August. He was kicked every time he touched the ball. And he almost silenced them with another tour de force in a career full of them.

But early in the top seven games between teams with big goals, Jayson Tatum sent the arena into a state of pandemonium in a rumor that the Celtics won 115-114. Game 2 will be in Boston on Wednesday.

“It was gratifying for us, especially the way we started this year,” said Celtic Smart defender Marcus Smart. “The resilience we have, the vision we have, the work we do and learn, we had a lot of games at the beginning of the year to learn.”

As the series progresses, the Celtics will have to use all that knowledge against Irving, who was impressive in Game 1. He finished with 39 points and 6 assists, and with 45.9 seconds left, he put his 3-builds ahead of the Nets. In the process, he reminded Boston why the city wanted him in the first place, and at the same time stressed all the bitterness that followed.

These feelings were rekindled at various points in the game. On at least two occasions, Irving appeared to lift his middle fingers to the fans sitting next to the court. He said in a post-match press conference that the crowd swore at him and referred to him in explicit terms.

“There’s nothing new when I walk into this building, what it will be like,” he said. “But the same energy they have for me, I will have the same energy for them.”

He added: “There are a lot of things that you take as a competitor. We are humble and humble and will take a humble approach. No. ”

For most of the game, Irving let his game talk. The Celtics weren’t stunned in the final minute, but after Jaylen Brown scored on a shot, Kevin Durant of the Nets lost a long 3 points. At the other end, Smart found Tatum, and turned after Irving as the clock was ticking. It was the easiest ship of the night.

“I think that’s kind of the microcosm of our season: the boys move the ball, play without selfishness,” Celtic coach Ime Udoka said. “Everything came together on the last property.”

Tatum finished with 31 points, and Brown with 23. Smart made the entire game, collecting 20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Durant had 23 points and shot just 9 of 24.

For the second consecutive season, the Nets and Celtics are reuniting in the first round. Last year, the Nets overtook Irving in five games, seemingly stepping on the Celtics logo in midfield, and only ignited the dynamic among Boston fans in a series, one of whom threw a bottle of water at him.

This series led to significant changes in the organization of the Celtics. Brad Stevens moved to the office after eight seasons as team coach. His job was done by Udoka, a longtime NBA assistant and disciple Gregg Popovich, who seems to have unlocked the potential for Tatum and Brown’s collaboration. Remember when the Celtics had a lost record, 23-24, in late January? They closed out the regular season with a 28-7 result.

Udoka introduced him to a series that knew networks. Last season, as an assistant to coach Steve Nash, Udoka met Irving and Durant, and their gifts.

Between a tumultuous and tumultuous start, the Celtics ’top defense gave the Nets the lead, forcing seven first-quarter balances. The stars gathered in the game – Irving, Durant, Brown and Tatum – lost 12 of their first 14 attempts.

Irving went early in the second quarter with a pair of 3s, the second in a transitional pull. The game was tied at 61 before the break before the Celtics kicked off, anticipating the expected blow to the defense. At the end of the third quarter, Jaylen Brown blocked Bruce Brown from the Nets on the edge and then ran away to turn it into a layup at the other end. Nets then took his turn, but Tatum blocked Durant’s jump, then hit a 3 to extend Boston’s lead to 11.

Irving was almost unstoppable in the fourth quarter, scoring 18 points on 9 of 7 shots, which set a dramatic end to the game.

“I don’t know if there’s an atmosphere that will make a fuss,” Nash said, adding, “The boy has done everything you can in the game.”

The Nets finished 7th in the Eastern Conference playoffs, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. The Celtics had a longer release to prepare for a full week as they closed out the regular season on April 10 as 2nd place.

The Celtics were left without Robert Williams, who backed the fourth-year center. Williams was having a ruptured season last month when he broke his meniscus in his left knee and underwent surgery. Udoka said the Celtics were preparing as if they would not be available for the Williams series, although Udoka did not rule out the possibility of Williams returning, albeit a distant one. “It’s progressing well,” Udoka said.

Before the game, the Celtics game operations team turned things around a bit on the arena’s video board. A quote from Bruce Brown flashing The lack of Williams on how the Nets could “attack” Al Horford and Daniel Theis. (People did it in August.) Horford was tremendous on Sunday, finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds and cheering throughout the game. Having Williams, of course, would raise expectations for the team’s championship.

Networks are used to waiting, too. They waited until Irving received the coronavirus vaccine, and when he was not ready to do so, he waited until New York City removed the vaccination orders so he could play home games. Now, the Nets are waiting — still waiting — for Ben Simmons to come out on the court for the first time since they bought him with the Philadelphia 76ers in mid-season trading.

Simmons, who hasn’t played since last postseason, has been facing the balcony on his back since arriving in Brooklyn, and no one has any idea what he would be like if he really took the floor against the Celtics. On Saturday, for the benefit of journalists who were apparently monitoring his progress, Simmons joined the practice.

“Make sure you get this,” he told those who were recording with their cell phones.

On Sunday, Simmons wore mirrored sunglasses in the visitor chair while Irving and the rest of the Nets performed in a hostile atmosphere. For one afternoon at least, and with the slightest difference, the Celtics were the most complete team.

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